Coconut and Thai curry soup with pork dumplings

March 3, 2012 § 18 Comments

On Thursday it snowed!  Finally.  It wasn’t the best timing since Joel was flying back from a work trip that night, but it was snow, and I wanted it!  The winter has been so sparse and brown, and when I looked out at the fragile white coating on the ground I literally felt what is meant by “a sight for sore eyes.”  My strained retinas relaxed perceptibly, and something inside me that has been tight and knotted all winter relaxed and unwound just slightly.  I’m a northerner.  My heart aches for a real winter.

I think you can see it in the photos too, that de-saturated grey light that comes with flakes suspended in the air.  Today it’s drizzling, so the snow won’t last long.  But it was there, and I was happy.

But anyways, what was I here to tell you about? Focus.  Focus.  Reel it in, Emily.  Ah yes, soup.

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Cornbread piled with carnitas and other deliciousness

February 21, 2012 § 15 Comments

Last Friday night we went out to dinner with some friends at a postage stamp sized little pop-up restaurant called Whisk, just around the corner from our house.  We had an absolute blast, which was mostly due to being in the best of company, but the seven course tasting menu offered at the restaurant, aka the dining experience, was quite fun too.  The food was legitimately good, fancy and conceptual, though it was not flawless.

Usually I sneer a little at deconstructed this, foamed that, or anything made into a gel version of itself.  It can seem so pretentious.  So if it is going to be done, it either needs to be executed near perfectly or be done tongue in cheek.  At Whisk, it was neither, but they were so incredibly endearing and effusive about their project, so adorably bumbling as they mispronounced Camembert and granita in their excitement, that any apparent pretention was immediately forgiven.  It felt like we were all playing house together, and we got to eat a very delicious meal during the course of it.

And I must say, their plating was truly beautiful and creative.  I love carefully, stunningly plated food.  It has some of the interesting aesthetic elements of abstract art and sculpture, except then you get to devour it!  It is not something I have ever given a try myself though, except for carefully placed mounds and dollops (I do have this idea for a crazy project loitering in the back of my mind that, if enacted, could thoroughly change this, but that is something for the future).  And, when I looked at the meal I created for us the very next day, it provided a pretty amusing contrast to Friday’s edible art.  On Saturday, we ate piles.

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Cranberry-fig chutney + cranberry pear sauce

November 26, 2009 § 2 Comments

I Love holidays!  Love with a capital L (as you can see).  I’m like a little kid, I get completely overexcited about holidays, especially the winter holidays that bring friends and family together around festive tables to combat the potential dreary winter blues.  And, I’m an absolute sucker for traditions.  I’m one of those people who likes to do the exact same thing every year for each holiday and heaven help you if you try to get me to change because it’ll be an uphill battle (though I’m always ready to adopt new traditions to have in addition to those I was raised with)!  I firmly believe that having the rhythm and dependability of strong traditions in our families and on our holidays roots us in a way that allows us to then be more creative and accepting of differences in the rest of life.

Given this, you can probably guess about how much variation there is from year to year in what I think should be cooked and served for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.  That’s right.  Zippo!  Same thing, every year, and it’s good every time!  On the other hand, I feel completely free to experiment with the principle ingredients of holiday dishes the rest of time.  Right now I’ve been playing with cranberries, for example.  I got, shall we say, a little enthusiastic when I was buying cranberries in preparation for Thanksgiving.  So, I’ve been using cranberries in other ways, besides as a side dish for the bird.  One of the first places they showed up was in several loaves of pumpkin bread.  I also tried drying some – that was a total fiasco.  Now I’ve moved on to pairing them with savory dishes.  Turkey isn’t the only meat that goes well with a bit of something sweet-tart on the side.  Pork and chicken, basically the other white meats, are good with cranberries as well (and though I’ve never tried it, I would imagine that salmon, baked with mustard on it (don’t ask why but I imagine cranberry sauce being good with mustard, maybe I had it on a sandwich once) would be good with cranberries too – I may try it and get back to you). « Read the rest of this entry »

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